Recently, the hot topic (among many many many other hot topics) is how school will start in the Fall of 2020. Many school systems are either gathering input from parents or are announcing new start dates and protocols for the upcoming school year.

My daughter's school system has not announced how they will start. As a working parent, I'm hopeful that they start on time but as an immuno-compromised individual, I hope there are heavy precautions in place.

Full-disclosure: I've had a lot of anxiety during these last few months. Not only was I navigating the whole COVID-19 river of information for myself, here at the radio station, we were trying to pass along the most pertinent and factual information that we can to our audience and we take that responsibility very seriously. THEN on top of all of that, I had to teach my daughter day in and day out? Yikes - it was a trying time for sure!

We are all feeling the weight of the world upon us. The uncertainty is very scary and the constant fighting on social media doesn't make any of this easier. There are no right or wrong answers - but we sure all have opinions. Now a whole new hurdle to overcome is to figure out how we will send our children safely back to school and the comments I've read have been brutal. I believe I even read that school administrators will have "blood on their hands" when children start dying if they choose to bring kids back into the building.

Reading things like that stresses me out and I'm a middle-age woman! I can't imagine being a small child hearing those words. My childhood was filled with lazy summers, swimming in our little pool, playing in the mud, and chasing fireflies. The biggest worry I had was picking a Lisa Frank unicorn or cat folder when school was about to start back up and even that was agonizingly fun!

In my humble opinion, children shouldn't have to bear the brunt of the adult world just yet. My daughter has had to go for several months without seeing her friends or family. We didn't go anywhere or do anything and without young siblings to play with, she was incredibly bored. She took it like a champ. She had to learn to do school at home - that HUGE deal for both of us. She's not a "learn at home" kinda gal. I'm not a fun and patient educator! She's already had a stressful 2020. Now, it's time to re-enter the school building and even though I'm fearing an even more intense repeat of the 2020 Flu Season (flu was rampant in her school and shortly after I tested positive for Flu A, Flu B, AND Mono) I've decided that I'm going to enter this school year with a positive outlook and keep my fears, anxieties, worries, and opinions about choices that are made to myself when I'm around her. When our school system sent out the back-to-school survey, I made my concerns and opinions crystal clear. When the time comes, I will share my opinions and stresses with close friends and family but not around the kids. And I'll make a decision about what's best for our family.

Whether you decide to keep your kids home and do online school this year or send them back in, remember that they are little and are looking to you to make this transition as easy as possible for them. Children can't always articulate their anxiety and many times it manifests itself in the form of physical ailments like a tummy ache or headache.

If you feel strongly that kids shouldn't go back, check out Indiana Connections Academy or the online option from your school system. But screaming about kids having to wear face masks or bad-mouthing educators who are just trying to do the best they can won't do anyone any good - especially your children who probably already have a good amount of anxiety about all of this and going back to school. Instead, maybe we should all adjust our focus to helping them to get thru this.

If your school is requiring face masks, don't make it a big thing. Go pick out a fun design that's comfortable. Explain to them that the mask helps keep us all safe and healthy.

Talk to other adults about your feelings in private. Little pitchers. Big ears.

Be honest with your kids about being safe but don't make it the focus on going back to school.

Show a positivity and excitement about the start of the school year!

Make memories. We'll all look back one day and laugh! RIGHT??

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